January First

As a kid, my parents always went out for New Year’s eve, and my grandma would stay with me. We would fold out the rough tweed couch into the childish magic of the hide-a-bed, pop some popcorn, play Monopoly and watch Dick Clark with his fancy ball-drop in far-away New York City. She would let me bang pots together on the porch, then I’d fall into a heap on the folded out couch and watch the blue light from the tv flicker in my grandma’s glasses as she read into the night.

Even then, New Year’s Eve felt sad and kind of lonely. My parents would come home acting giddy and loud and smelling funny, and my grandma would be softly snoring. I wonder if I was ever a typical child- somehow I think I was always me, even then– aware of my differences and not knowing yet what to call the yearning and stretching of my heart. There had to be more, I would think, as I pressed my cheek to the cold, black window glass and looked out at the winter dark sky. These feelings were always amplified by the shift from the holy and sacred of Christmas the week before into crass and disposable of New Year’s Eve.

My feelings haven’t changed much.

Resolutions are not something in which I indulge. Not ever. Making bombastic proclamations about what I will or will not do is a recipe for disaster. There is no fresh start- no magical flipping of the calender that denotes a new day. We start from right now, this moment, always. It’s all one day, all one continuum and any divisions we impose are our own. For me, I do better if I hold my heart in my hands, checking it often, and making minute course corrections as I ride the tide ever forward.

I don’t want to look up each year when the calender turns and wonder where my life went… For me, being here, now, gaze towards heaven, heart open and unafraid, is the only way to be really alive. No resolution can hold that.

5 thoughts on “January First

  1. Ohhhh today of all days this spoke to me— when everyone else is flurrying with resolutions and I just feel nauseous.

    Thank you Tracy.

  2. I like resolutions for minor changes – paint a room, organize this closet, touch your toes, etc. It goes back to my love of crossing off things. DONE. But major, life-altering work, yeah – resolutions won’t do it.

  3. Amen.

    I couldn’t put a finger on why I just didn’t feel up to a party on New years, you answer it for me here. It just pales in comparison to Christmas and other blessed events which surround it.

    Resolutions are also something I don’t touch. I am definitely an in the moment gal. Goals are difficult because I’ve never been able to trust the trajectory of my life long enough to plot points on it. Lead me on God, by the seat of my pants.

  4. I really liked this from George Q. Cannon — something a friend of mine shared on his FB.

    “Among Latter-day Saints there ought to be no occasion for what is called ‘swearing-off’ or for the general making of resolutions of improvement on New Year’s day. Every day should witness with them a determination to lay aside weaknesses… and take on more of the graces of godliness. Each day furnishes opportunity to look closely into one’s habits, to examine and discard the worthless and cleave unto that which is elevating and holy.
    “The partaking of the Sacrament in the Sunday Schools and Ward meetings, when done worthily, of itself implies an earnest endeavor towards improvement. Every time a true Saint, whether old or young, kneels in prayer, he or she should consider anew the duty of leading a better life, one more in conformity with the precepts and example of our Great Master. Not alone on New Year’s, therefore, but on every day, should people seek to effect an improvement in their habits of life.”
    (George Q. Cannon, Jan. 1, 1897, JI 32:23; Gospel Truth, 1:164-165)

  5. “These feelings were always amplified by the shift from the holy and sacred of Christmas the week before into crass and disposable of New Year’s Eve.”

    That sums it up for me, too. New Year’s Eve is the death of all that was wonderful and filled with family. At 12:01 AM we pack up the party and move onto bleak, depressing, gray January. I love your insight of “the shift from the holy and sacred.” Very nicely said.

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